An Explanation Of Bee Hive Hierarchy And 25 Types Of Bees And Wasps


Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 10/4/2022

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "bees"? What comes to mind first: being stung (ouch! ), the flavor of sweet honey, or perhaps the sound of a low, steady buzzing? There are many different kinds of bees in the world, and each one contributes significantly to the health of the environment in which we live. In this article, we'll discuss the different kinds of bees and the hierarchy of beehives and take a look at the wasps, the bees' more aggressive relatives.
Bees are the most effective pollinators on the planet, and they do so to a significant degree. They are responsible for the successful pollination of one-third of the food we eat.
They are also a significant contributor to the overall economy of the world. Without them, we would be in a very precarious position.
But bees are not all alike, and it is necessary to distinguish between the most common types of bees if we have any hope of having a deep comprehension of these wondrous little creatures.

Every Variety Of A Bee


It is estimated that there are approximately 20,000 different species of bees and the only continent that does not have a native bee population is Antarctica. Just in North America, there are more than 4,000 other species.

There are two primary kinds of bees, social bees, and solitary bees, and most bee species belong to either of these two categories, regardless of where they are found.

Social Bees

When most people hear the word "bee," the first thing that pops into their heads is a mental image of a social bee. There have been numerous depictions of social bees in media such as literature, film, and television.

They were Winnie Pooh's favorite people because they made his most beloved snack. There is an entire tale based on the hypothetical situation where "bees were bears."

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These bees form large aggregations, also known as colonies. In hives inhabited by social bees, there are many bees, and each bee is responsible for various tasks, such as building combs, caring for the larvae, and producing honey.

These "overachievers" are the ones who are most likely to be observed producing hives or working together to establish a community. If you decide to become a beekeeper, you should be prepared to deal with social bees and several different beehives.

In general, social bees are calm and will not sting unless they believe their colony or hive is in danger. This is an important fact to keep in mind.

The Bumble Bee

In the garden, Bumble Bees also referred to as "big bees," are the hairy pollinators responsible for many plants and flowers. They have furry coats, which contribute to their high efficiency in the pollination process.

Did you know that honey bees and bumble bees are the two most essential pollinators? Honey bees are the largest, and bumble bees are the second largest. They cling to the flowers to reach the pollen and nectar inside.

Bumble Bees

Unfortunately, pesticides and climate changes have led to the extinction of more than one-fifth of the world's populations of bumble bees. Another challenge for these bees comes in competition from honey bees.

The Honey Bee

Honey bees are an essential component of our ecosystem because they are one of the top pollinators. They organized themselves into colonies that could be as large as 80,000 members strong at one time. They live in hives and produce honey as a byproduct of their lives.
Honey Bees do not have the same fur or hair as Bumble Bees do, and they are also shorter in stature than the Bumble Bees, but their bodies are proportionally longer and narrower.

Honey Bees

In addition, these bees are organized into groups that carry out their work according to a caste system and follow specific roles in the upkeep of the hive.

It's important to remember that there are three castes in a honey bee colony: the queen, the worker bees, and the drones.

The amount of labor that it takes for these creatures to produce just one pound of honey astounds us, which amazes us the most about them. In order to accomplish this task, each bee must travel a minimum of 90,000 miles (roughly three trips around the globe.) That is the definition of work ethic!

In a moment, we'll go over the various kinds of bees that live in a hive of honey bees.

Bees With African Ancestry

It is common to refer to Africanized Bees as "killer bees." When they escaped from a laboratory in South America, they were being bred with regular honey bees to create a new cross-breed.

They are notoriously known for having a temper that sometimes gets quite nasty. They take over areas formerly inhabited by honey bees and are likely to attack anything or anyone that gets too close to them.

Africanized Bees

They are more likely to attack at random and dangerous, but they are significantly smaller than honey bees and not as difficult as one might think. And then it's possible that you also own a bee suit.

What is the most effective strategy for escaping an angry swarm of killer bees? You should get away as quickly as you can, protect your head, and take cover as soon as possible.

Bees That Live Alone

These bees do not swarm, prefer to live and work alone or in tiny groups, and do not produce honey. In addition, solitary bees build little nests, fly by themselves, and have only enough food to sustain the development of their larvae.

The vast majority of them do not pose much of a threat. You can think of them as the solitary types who would instead read a book at home rather than go out to a bar with their friends (unlike social bees).

The Carpenter Bees

One example of such an introvert is the Carpenter Bee, and it has the appearance of a massive, tubby, and highly hairy Bumble Bee.
There are, however, some distinctions to be made between Bumble Bees and Carpenter Bees. In contrast to the striped Bumble Bees, these bees have a blue-black coloration.
Why are they referred to as Carpentaria bees? As a result, they build their nests inside of nooks made of wood, trees, or logs, including benches and shelves made of wood.

The Carpenter Bees

Even though this might not appear to be a significant issue at first, it can become one when the insects establish their colonies inside human dwellings.

It is essential to understand that a Carpenter Bee can carve a nest into the wood, which contains chambers for the bee's eggs and larvae. It is capable of causing the deterioration of wooden structures, which can ultimately lead to the destruction of buildings.

Carpenter Bees are not known to be very aggressive in their stings, and male Carpenter Bees do not have stingers. However, female Carpenter Bees do possess a stinger, which they will deploy to protect their nests if it becomes necessary to do so.

Is it your goal to prevent carpenter bees from making your wooden structures their home and shop there? You could try painting the wooden surfaces or cleaning them with pressure.

The Digger Bees

Digger Bees are hairy insects that are typically much smaller than Carpenter Bees, and they generally are between 12 and 18 millimeters in terms of length. They are frequently seen emerging from the caves or holes in the ground where they make their homes.

Digger Bees

The Diggers will construct a hideout and watch over it. The majority of the time, their tunnels will have one central hollow and a few smaller tunnels that serve as storage for their food, eggs, and larvae.
To one's great relief, the possibility of being stung by a Digger Bee is highly remote.

The Mining Bees

Approximately 1200 different species of bees belong to the family Andrena. These bees are commonly referred to as Mining Bees, and they behave in a manner analogous to that of Digger Bees.
Underground, mining bees construct complex networks of tunnels and nests for themselves. On occasion, the offspring of mining bees will build their nests near one another on the ground.

Mining Bees

The underground nests they construct are somewhat analogous to housing units, with a sort of apartment allotted to each little bee. The risk of being stung by a Mining Bee is low, similar to the risk posed by other solitary bees. They pose no threat to our safety and should not be harmed.

The Leafcutter Bees

Bees That Cut Leaves The length of this bee species ranges from about 7 to 18 millimeters. The Leafcutter Bee is a very dark species of bee that almost appears to be made of iron.
Mason bees and leafcutter bees are both members of the same family, but leafcutter bees build their tunnels and nests in decaying wood and buildings' insulated panels. Mason bees do not build nests.

Leafcutter Bees

At a safe distance from human habitation, certain bees will make their homes in the hollows of old trees and logs.

Interestingly, they get their name from the habit of cutting off pieces of plants and using those pieces to mark the entrances to their tunnels.

The Mason Bees

Mason Bees are very similar in appearance to leafcutters; the main difference is that Mason Bees burrow into buildings made of soft cement. These bees don't cause a lot of damage, and they won't cause your garden any trouble because the holes they make aren't huge.

Mason Bees

Leafcutting bees and mason bees are solitary bees, similar to most solitary bees, and there is little threat of being stung by them.

The Sweat Bees

If you are out and about on a hot summer day and come across a bee, the chances are good that it is a sweat bee. These insects are also frequently referred to as Alkali Bees, and these bees can reach lengths of only 3 millimeters at their smallest.
Like other species of solitary bees, they prefer to construct their nests inconspicuously. Sweat bees find the perspiration of humans and other animals to be extremely interesting, and this is why they find themselves drawn to you!

Sweat Bees

However, because of their diminutive size, one of them is a risk of being stung. They are not hostile, and the only time they will sting is if they are pressed up against the skin. In other words, you are looking at a bee species that is considered one of the more docile varieties.

The Plasterer Bees

Plasterer bees range in length from 10 to 18 mm and appear to have a hairy appearance, and they are only slightly larger than sweat bees. They will also make their nests underground, but they will also use the spaces between stones and bricks.

Plasterer Bees

Did you know that their common name, "Plaster Bees," comes from the fact that they coat the inside of their nests with a discharge that, once it dries, takes on a glossy, transparent appearance?

Bees With A Yellow Face

These individuals appear to be very vicious. It's good that these bees are pretty docile despite their intimidating appearance. The Yellow-Faced Bee, which belongs to the same family as the Plasterer Bee, is typically no longer than 6 millimeters and has a yellow face. Did you know that their common name, "Plaster Bees," comes from the fact that they coat the inside of their nests with a discharge that, once it dries, takes on a glossy, transparent appearance?

Yellow-Faced Bees

They got their name from the yellow color of their faces, but occasionally their faces will be white. Only in Hawaii can you find over 60 unique species of yellow-faced bees.

Be aware that these bees are famous for the elaborate mating rituals they perform.

An Explanation Of The Various Kinds Of Honeybees Found In A Hive

Honeybees are responsible for creating a marvelously organized community, which is necessary and beneficial to the food chain. They are most successful when living in colonies that include a queen, some male drones, and anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 female worker bees.
Because of the highly specialized nature of a bee colony, individual bees cannot make it on their own. Therefore, each bee must carry out its specific responsibilities and work together with the other bees to survive.
Following is a list that will provide you with a concise summary of the various species of bees that live in a beehive and the functions that they perform.

The Queen Bee

The Queen Bee is the most significant and long-lived type of bee (she can live for five to six years, which is a considerable amount of time in the world of bees). She also lays the eggs, and she is the only adult female bee in the colony to reach the sexual maturity stage.

The Queen Bee

The queen bee can lay enough fertilized eggs every day to ensure that the next generation of bees will have enough to eat. That's up to 2,000 eggs in a single day's production!

In addition to this, she exudes chemicals that can affect the behavior of various species of bees. The queen bee plays an essential role in keeping the work cycle in a beehive running smoothly and in harmony.

The Drone Bees

Drone Bees Drone Bees are male bees whose tasks are e easier than worker bees and queen bees. The sole responsibilities of these categories of bees are to consume food and mate with the queen bee. What a magnificent way to lead the life of a king!

Drone Bees

They are more significant than the worker bees but smaller than the queen bee in size. Worker bees are the same size as the queen bee. The hive is home to hundreds of drone bees during the spring and summer months. Even though they appear to have it made, drones are doomed to extinction after mating with the queen bee.
Before winter arrives, the worker bees will drive out of the hive any invaders who make it through the season without being attacked.

The Worker Bees

Worker Bees In the caste system of a hive, the Worker Bees are all female bees responsible for foraging for food, developing the pack, guarding the multitude, and keeping the air clean. Worker Bees also maintain the cleanliness of the hive's air.

Worker Bees

In contrast to the other two types of bees, worker bees cannot lay eggs and do not have fully developed sexual organs. Since other bees do not venture outside the hive, you can assume that any bee you see flying out is a worker bee. These women are the unsung heroes behind everything that takes place within.

There Are Various Types Of Wasps

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After going over the various kinds of bees, let's move on to the stinging insects known as wasps. Why? Because wasps are frequently confused with bees by the general public. Read this article to learn more about the differences between bees and wasps and the varieties of wasps.
However, the distinction becomes more apparent the closer you look at them. Around the world, there are approximately 75,000 different species of wasps.
Wasps are flying carnivorous creatures that feed on other insects like spiders, unlike bees, which are nectar-drinking insects. Bees, on the other hand, collect nectar from flowers.
The bees are vegetarians, but the wasps enjoy a sound bite of meat now and then. In most cases, they are suitable for the environment because they control organic pests on farms, crops, and gardens, making them an asset to the environment.

It is important to note that these flying insects are typically divided into two categories: solitary wasps, which do not live in colonies, and social wasps, which do live in colonies, similar to bees. It is, therefore, not surprising that we frequently get the two mixed up.

The Social Wasps

Like honeybees and ants, social wasps live in colonies where they thrive and carry out their daily activities. Most of the creatures that work in a wasp hierarchy are the queen's infertile daughters. These creatures are responsible for building the nest, gathering food, and caring for the queen's young.

Wasp colonies can only survive for a single year at a time.

The typical social wasps like yellowjackets, hornets and paper wasps start a new nest in their underground nesting tunnels every year.
The only members of the colony to make it through the winter are the fertilized queens; the rest of the workers perish when the temperature drops below freezing. The following is a list of the most common species of social wasps.

The Yellowjackets

Honeybees and yellowjackets are about the same length and black with bright yellow markings. Honeybees are about half an inch long, and yellowjackets are about three-quarters of an inch long. There can be up to 5,000 individuals in a single nest.
Honey Bees are frequently confused with these insects, even though the former is much smaller, much quicker, and wears a much brighter yellow. In addition, they construct their paper nests in the same manner as hornets do, but they do so in locations such as logs, attics, grounds, or walls.


It's a well-known fact that yellowjackets carry out their foraging for food by circling back and forth over their nest. Their diet typically consists of sugary foods and savory meats.

They can be a nuisance because of the pain caused by their stings. However, unless provoked, they do not typically engage in violent behavior. When protecting their young and nests, they can become quite hostile.

The Hornets

He was so angry that he was as mad as a hornet, one of our favorite southern sayings. This is because these wasps are known to have a lot of irrational behavior.


Hornets have a length of two inches and build large nests that resemble paper out of chewed-up pieces of wood. They are also known as bald-faced hornets, and although their coloring is comparable to that of yellowjackets, they are significantly larger than their cousins.
Nesting sites include dense vegetation, bushes, tree branches, the undersides of buildings or houses, and poles. Only seven hundred individuals can fit inside a Hornet colony at one time.

The Paper Wasps

Nests made by paper wasps are distinguished by their umbrella-like shape and high moisture resistance. Paper wasp nests can be grey or brown. Even though their nest lacks an exterior covering, it is home to approximately 25 wasps, and that number has the potential to rise to more than 100.

Paper Wasps

Compared to yellowjackets, they are noticeably more extended and more slender. Because there are many different species of Paper Wasps, they also have more color variations.

Wasps That Live Alone

In contrast to their social counterparts, Solitary wasps do not form large colonies and live on their own. It is usually during the middle of summer that these wasps congregate. In addition, they are hunters and feed on spiders, crickets, and other types of insects, including cicadas and cicadas. They make their prey more vulnerable before bringing it back to their den.
After that, they will lay an egg on their prey, which the larva will feed. They will not attack you in most cases, and their stings are not painful. The most common kinds of solitary wasps are detailed in the following list.

The Cicada Killer Wasps

Cicada Killer Wasps, which range in length from one and a half to two inches and are striped in black and yellow, are the most common wasp species in Nebraska.

Cicada Killer Wasps

The holes they create underground are located close to walls, pathways, and driveways. These particular wasps can construct nests in any location of their choosing.
They get their names from the sophisticated method of killing their prey (cicada, grasshoppers, and crickets) by using venom that paralyzes them.
Please don't be concerned about it, though. Wasps of this species typically do not focus their hunting efforts on humans.

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp

The Spider Hawk Wasp is a gigantic wasp that is dark blue and has glossy brown-orange wings. It is somewhat smaller than a cicada killer wasp.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

The female's antennae are coiled in a distinctive way that sets her apart. The performance of a Spider Hawk is identical to that of any other hawk, but as their name suggests, the larvae of a Spider Hawk consume spiders primarily.
They have one of the most excruciating stings in the world of insects, but they are not as common as other types of wasps because they are primarily found in deserts and the areas surrounding them.

The Steel Blue Cricket Hunters

The Steel Blue Cricket Hunter is another large species of wasp that can grow up to one inch in length and is also known as the Thread-waist Wasp and the Aphid Wasp.

Steel Blue Cricket Hunters

When you get up close, you can see that their wings are a dark grey, and their bodies are metallic dark blue. It is commonly believed that crickets are the primary source of nutrition for the larvae of these insects, which is the source of their name.

The Sand Wasp

The Sand Wasp is only an inch long, but its eyes are enormous, and its body is striped with black and white. Even though the Solitary Wasp lives alone, some females will join forces to construct multiple nests in the ground and discourage potential predators.

Sand Wasps

Sand wasps seek out sandboxes in backyards because that is where their larvae are most likely to find flying insects to eat. Warn your children to be careful if they find any wasps in the sandy areas where they play if you have children.

The Mud Wasps

Mud Wasps are often called the "lone wolves" of the wasp species because they build their colonies independently and only engage in predatory behavior when necessary to capture their prey.
These wasps are sometimes referred to as Pollen Wasps, Potter Wasps, or Mud Daubers. Their name alludes to how they build their nests in both the air and the ground.
Mud Daubers
Wasps, about an inch in length and have a long, slender body, are called mud daubers. Their nests are typically small tube-shaped or cylindrical structures and house a colony of three to twenty wasps.

Mud Wasps

They can sting even when provoked, and unlike yellowjackets, they do not defend their nests.
They can be discovered beneath porches and in attics, eaves, and walls. However, be reassured that their typical prey is spiders, specifically black widow spiders.

The Potter Wasps

These wasps are pretty tiny, measuring about half an inch in length. It is thought that their common name comes from the shape of the nests, which are shaped like pots or jugs.

Potter Wasps

Potter Wasps have the most incredible diversity of all the different kinds of wasps; researchers have counted over 200 different types of these insects.

The Pollen Wasps

Because pollen wasps are so much smaller than yellow jackets, people sometimes confuse the two (about 0.25 to 1 mm long.) On the other hand, Pollen Wasps are easily identifiable by their enormous antennae.

Pollen Wasps

They dig burrows in the ground and construct their nests out of mud and water. Are you able to deduce from their name what they consume most often?

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The 3 Types Of Bees?

Three different bees live in a honeybee colony: workers, drones, and the queen. While the queen and drones mate to produce offspring, thousands of worker bees collaborate on constructing a nest, collecting food, and caring for young bees while the queen is away mating.

How Do I Identify A Honey Bee?

Honey Bees are easily distinguished from other bees by their lack of a fuzzy or hairy exterior, as is the case with Bumble Bees. Honey Bees are also noticeably smaller, despite their longer and more slender bodies. Because they travel from flower to flower, you can also observe their flight path.

Will Bees Sting You For No Reason?

The vast majority of bees will only sting if they feel threatened or are being bothered, and they will only attack in self-defense, so they have stingers: to protect their hive. The only exception to this rule is killer bees, which are more than capable of attacking humans.

How Do I Know What Kind Of Bees I Have?

Honey Bees are significantly less hairy and smaller than their Bumble Bee counterparts, and Mason bees can be even less noticeable in size. However, there are many other types of bees in the world, so take a look at our list of the various species of bees that you might come across.

What’s Your Favorite Type Of Bee?

To summarise, any species of bee or wasp contributes to the health of the natural world. If we learn about the different kinds of bees and understand them, we will either be able to help them survive or stay out of their way. Although some types of bees are indeed more common and social than others, all the different kinds of bees are fascinating in their unique ways. We'd love it if you got in touch with us, whether you're a bee expert, if you daydream about bees, or if you're beginning to explore the wondrous world of bees.